Jor­dan now owns le­gal rights to his Chi­nese name “Qiao­dan”

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Louise Watt

bei­jing» Basketball leg­end Michael Jor­dan now owns his Chi­nese name, af­ter China’s high­est court sided with him Thurs­day fol­low­ing a years-long le­gal battle over a trade­mark dis­pute.

The for­mer NBA star has fought a Chi­nese sportswear maker since 2012 over the name “Qiao­dan,” pro­nounced “CHEEOW-dan,” the translit­er­a­tion of “Jor­dan” in Man­darin.

Qiao­dan Sports, a com­pany based in south­ern China, had reg­is­tered the trade­mark un­der which it was sell­ing its own shoes and sportswear.

Jor­dan has been known by the Chi­nese char­ac­ters for “Qiao­dan” since he gained wide­spread pop­u­lar­ity in the mid-1980s. He had pre­vi­ously ar­gued un­suc­cess­fully in Bei­jing courts that Qiao­dan Sports had used his Chi­nese name, his old jersey num­ber 23 and basketball player logo to make it look like he was as­so­ci­ated with their brand.

The Supreme Peo­ple’s Court on Thurs­day an­nounced that it was over­turn­ing two rul­ings by Bei­jing courts against Jor­dan from 2014 and 2015 that had found there wasn’t suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to sup­port the ath­lete’s al­le­ga­tions over the use of his im­age, and that “Qiao­dan” was the trans­la­tion of a com­mon fam­ily name as the Chi­nese com­pany claimed.

It also or­dered the trade­mark bureau to is­sue a new rul­ing on the use of the Chi­nese char­ac­ters in the brand name “Qiao­dan,” ef­fec­tively award­ing the trade­mark to Jor­dan. The com­pany can con­tinue to use the Ro­man­ized spell­ing of the name, how­ever.

Chief judge Tao Kaiyuan said there was an es­tab­lished link be­tween Jor­dan and the Chi­nese char­ac­ters for “Qiao­dan,” which are com­monly used by the pub­lic when re­fer­ring to the for­mer basketball player, mean­ing that Jor­dan was en­ti­tled to pro­tec­tion un­der the Trade­mark Law.

Jor­dan said in a state­ment that mil­lions of Chi­nese fans and con­sumers had al­ways known him by the name Qiao­dan and that he was happy the court rec­og­nized his right to pro­tect his name.

“Chi­nese con­sumers de­serve to know that Qiao­dan Sports and its prod­ucts have no con­nec­tion to me. Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than pro­tect­ing your own name, and to­day’s de­ci­sion shows the im­por­tance of that prin­ci­ple,” Jor­dan said.

In a state­ment af­ter the rul­ing, the com­pany de­fended its ac­tions but said it would re­spect the court’s de­ci­sion.

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